WINNIPEG — A Manitoba man has been sentenced to eight years for the death of his 21−month−old daughter after failing to report abuse the judge called horrific and noticeable.
A jury found Daniel Williams, 37, guilty of manslaughter in February in the 2014 death of Kierra Elektra Starr Williams from the Peguis First Nation.
"Her terrible suffering must have been obvious," Justice Sadie Bond said at his sentencing Friday.
Kierra’s body showed signs of months of abuse when she died July 17, 2014. Court heard she had broken bones, a dislocated shoulder and missing teeth. She was severely malnourished and covered in bruises.
Her mother, Vanessa Bushie, hit, kicked and dragged the child, family members testified. The cause of the toddler’s death was blunt force trauma to the abdomen and internal blood loss.
Bushie was convicted of second−degree murder last year and received a life sentence with no chance of parole for 14 years.
Bond said Williams didn’t cause his daughter’s death, but he knew she was being abused and made the choice not to step in.
"To say that this case is tragic is an understatement," the judge said. "The facts of this case are horrific."
Bond said a significant jail sentence was necessary because Williams "left Kierra to waste away and suffer from her injuries."
Williams hugged his family members before entering the courtroom and said he was nervous. The trial heard how the father was working long hours and agreed not to get his daughter medical attention because he was worried he would lose custody of his other children.
Defence lawyer Greg Brodsky argued that Williams was being controlled by the mother of his children. Brodsky was seeking a suspended sentence with no jail time, while Crown lawyers argued for nine years behind bars.
"He was a battered spouse and he shouldn’t be punished for being a battered spouse," Brodsky said outside court Friday.
He said he will consider filing an appeal.
Kelly Geraldine Malone, The Canadian Press